Employer transfer freeze policy 2020

In response to the continued COVID-19 pandemic, WorkSafe has extended the temporary freeze on the transfer of employer portfolios between WorkCover agents.

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Introduction

This is to ensure continuity in the support and care provided to injured workers as they face new challenges to their health recovery and uncertainty in their return to work outcomes due to the current environment.

The freeze applies to all employers with a Victorian WorkCover Insurance Policy.

It applies to all new transfer requests (from employers and agents).

Timeframe

The freeze commenced on 1 July 2020 and will now be extended from 30 June 2022 until 31 January 2023.

A determination prior to January 2023 will be made, if the freeze will continue beyond this point.

Exemptions – special circumstances

Employers can only request to transfer their portfolio to another agent where special circumstances apply. WorkSafe has sole discretion to approve a request for an exemption should the particular circumstances deem it necessary.

All exemption applications must be firstly submitted through the agent to whom the employer wishes to transfer.

An exemption application can be made if there are special circumstances that would warrant a change of agent during the freeze period.

Sufficient evidence (in addition to the standard transfer forms) to support the application must be provided.

The following special circumstances may be recognised by WorkSafe to give rise to an exemption:

  • tenders or transfer of relationships already in process prior 1 May 2022 (to include situations where a procurement/tender has already commenced in the expectation of a 30 June 2022 end to the freeze)
  • mergers and acquisitions where employers wish to bring all employees under the same Agent, where the merger had been undertaken prior to the commencement of the new extension
  • financial hardship including mergers or acquisitions driven by COVID-19
  • an irretrievable breakdown of the relationship between the employer and current Agent
  • a new exemption criteria for circumstances where there are legislated or regulated requirements for employers to tender their Workers Compensation relationship, which leads to a change of Agent